Since falling to 5-10 in mid-April, at which point the vibes were so bad that fans began throwing loose baseballs onto the field of play, the New York Yankees have gone 23-9, the best record in baseball during that span.
If you don’t believe the Yankees are the best team in baseball following this extended streak, that’s alright. Their offense still isn’t clicking. There are debates to be had.
But if you firmly believe the Yanks are the seventh-best team in the game, four spots behind the team they just flattened in the Bronx, then we need to have a serious talk.
Are power rankings created just to stir discussion? Sure. Definitely.
Were MLB Network’s Monday power rankings built specifically to bother me? Also possible. Look at this thing.
MLB Network’s Power Rankings confusingly disrespected the Yankees.
Did they accidentally hit “send” on some power rankings from April 25th and call it a day?
These are especially confusing because you’ve got a lovely mix of recency bias as well as steadfast adherence to preseason expectations, much like FanGraphs’ playoff odds. Those things never moved, even as the Yankees sucked wind from the back of the AL East. Now, those prognosticators look vindicated.
This, however, is all over the place.
The Dodgers, for example, leapfrogged the Giants after swiping the NL West lead from them in a demoralizing three-game sweep in San Francisco this weekend. In other words, the balance of … power has changed. So we re-ranked the rankings! Makes sense, for a set of rankings based on power.
The same deference was not shown to the Yankees and White Sox, though, as New York’s thorough three-game sweep didn’t result in a changing of the guard whatsoever. Chicago remains four spots above the Bombers despite doing nothing to earn their place in the head-to-head matchup.
Contrast these with ESPN’s power rankings from last week, entitled, “Can anyone catch the White Sox at the top?” Now, that’s exciting! We’ve set up a race of some kind! I assume this week, they’ll reveal that someone … has caught the White Sox at the top? Considering they’ve been passed by a bunch of teams?
Also, not for nothing, but what are the Red Sox still doing up here? Living off their banked wins? In another argument that, fundamentally, no power rankings will ever really change, the Rays remain six spots behind the Sox, despite winning 10 straight and tying them for the AL East lead.
So … sorry, but … what is a power ranking? A ranking based on performance? Surely not. A heat meter? Doesn’t seem to be, in this case.
A random list of all the MLB teams near the top of the standings, context-less and immobile? Yeah. That must be what this boring exercise is.